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The Best Backpacks for Everyday Carry

by , March 29, 2017

Choosing an EDC backpack deserves careful consideration. After all, it’s going to be your daily companion for years to come, so you want to ensure it suits your needs and tastes, both from a functional and aesthetic standpoint. So what makes an epic everyday carry backpack?

Versatility

You never know where the day (or night) might lead, so it’s good to have a bag that can keep up. Get more out of your gear by opting for a backpack with the aesthetics and feature set to adapt to changing needs and environments, such as pivoting from work or school settings into outdoor, sport or short travel scenarios.

Organization

The degree of organization depends on what you’re going to carry in it. Make sure it can handle your daily tools and carry items such as snacks, an outer layer, tech devices and small EDC items.

Comfort

Avoid unnecessary strain by choosing a bag that’s comfortable for the commute to work or school. Features such as suitable padding, a waist belt and sternum strap, wide shoulder straps and sufficient ventilation all play their part in keeping you comfy on the go.

Durability

You don’t want your bag to fall apart after only a few months of use. Opt for a pack that can handle the daily grind for years on end.

Got some ideas in mind for your ideal pack? Take a look at the solid suggestions below to see if these everyday carry backpacks could be right for you and your budget…

Timbuk2 Tuck Pack (from US$49.95)

timbuk2 tuck pack

Budget-friendly carry for on and off the bike

If you’re looking for a functional EDC pack that won’t break the bank, the Timbuk2 Tuck Pack is a great place to start. Made in the US, the rolltop design features an interior padded laptop sleeve and quick-access exterior pockets, along with reflective detailing and a loop for your bike light if you’re cycling at night.

Incase ICON Slim (from US$89.30)

Incase ICON Slim

Sleek tech carry with city style

This slim pack delivers low-key style that suits a range of environments, from work to campus or your local cafe. A faux-fur padded laptop compartment keeps your tech protected on the go, and there’s a choice of pockets available for organizing smaller items.

Topo Designs Y-Pack Backpack (US$98)

Topo Designs Y-Pack Backpack

Easy access meets affordable durability

The Y-Pack features a wide flap opening with an inner drawstring and exterior latch closure for fuss-free access. Peek inside and you’ll find a laptop sleeve, while outside the flap pocket keeps frequently used items within easy reach. The pack is constructed in the USA with durable 1000D Cordura, but remains an affordable option for day-to-day carry needs.

Mystery Ranch Robo Flip (US$99)

Mystery Ranch Robo Flip

Rugged adaptability that won’t break the bank

The Robo Flip packs a punch with its hard-wearing toughness, versatile design and straightforward access. The interior padded, floating sleeve takes care of tech, while the flip-top lid, exterior daisy chain and zippered lid pocket keep your gear within easy reach on the go. Mystery Ranch’s trusty rugged build will ensure this pack keeps going strong for years to come, whether you’re commuting in the city or roaming in wilder terrain. All with an affordable price tag that offers great value for money.

The North Face Kabyte 20L Backpack (US$ 108.95)

Clean commuter with outdoor flexibility

With its sleek aesthetics and range of useful pockets, the Kabyte is a good choice for the daily commute. But its versatile design also lends itself to outdoor activities too, from day hikes to cycling. A solid choice if you want one bag that meets multiple carry needs.

Aer Fit Pack (US$120)

Aer Fit Pack

Pack in work and workout gear

Don’t let the clean exterior of the Aer Fit Pack fool you. There’s plenty of designated storage for work tools and supplies along with gym clothing and shoes. The sleek silhouette won’t look out of place in an office setting, while comfortable backpack carry lets you easily move between work and workout environments.

Thule Vea Backpack 25L (US$129.95)

Thule Vea Backpack 25L

Jump between the gym and the office

Thule’s 25L Vea Backpack is a great gym/work hybrid, with separate compartments to store your work and gym gear. The pack fits both a 15″ laptop and 10″ tablet, includes an expandable separate pocket for shoes, and accommodates bulky items like a yoga mat or outer layer under the flap. All delivered with clean, work-friendly aesthetics that transition easily to a range of environments.

Mystery Ranch Rip Ruck (US$130)

Mystery Ranch Rip Ruck

On-the-fly access for everyday functionality

Inspired by their Special Forces packs, Mystery Ranch have designed the Rip Ruck to provide fast, convenient access through a rip-zip opening. Handy for getting to gear quickly on the go, the pack also features quick-access pockets and separate storage for a laptop. And with its comfortable, burly and weather-resistant build, you can embrace a variety of environments without skipping a beat.

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault (US$138.95)

Mystery Ranch Urban Assault

Tough versatility for outdoor and urban use

Taking inspiration from military assault packs, the Mystery Ranch Urban Assault is built tough to withstand demanding use in urban environments and outdoor settings alike. The 3-ZIP closure provides fast and convenient access to your gear, with inbuilt laptop and tablet sleeves storing your tech and three pockets storing smaller items. If you’re keen on mil-spec build with a more tactical feel and extra features such as an adjustable Futura Yoke, check out the Mystery Ranch ASAP.

Alchemy Equipment AEL002 (US$143.40)

Alchemy Equipment AEL002

Suave styling that’s built to last

Want a backpack that will turn heads? The AEL002 is certainly one to consider. This handsome pack looks stylish in work and play settings alike, but a reliable build and useful features make this bag more than just attractive aesthetics. The pack’s water-resistant construction provides protection against rain and snow, and a removable waist strap and adjustable sternum strap help with carry comfort and stability on the go. A dedicated laptop/tablet pocket houses your tech, and quick-access pockets let you stash smaller items close at hand.

Arc’teryx Blade 20 (US$146.86)

Arc'teryx Blade 20

Handy organization and access for work and travel needs

The Blade 20’s clamshell main compartment allows for easy packing and access, with quick entry through a side zip, making this a versatile choice for work needs and traveling alike. In addition to backpack straps, the pack includes top and side handles. There’s plenty of organization for your gear such as a dedicated padded laptop compartment, a tablet sleeve, and pockets for smaller EDC, travel or work items.

Topo Designs Klettersack (US$169)

Topo Designs Klettersack

Work, travel and outdoors in one

Like getting more out of your carry? The versatile Klettersack lends itself to a range of carry uses, from the daily commute to overnight trips or outdoor adventuring. Built by hand with hard-wearing 1000D Cordura, the pack fits a 15″ laptop and offers leather lash tabs for attaching extra gear externally.

Aer Duffel Pack 2 (US$ 170)

Aer Duffel Pack 2

Gym meets office

Aer delivers all-in-one work and gym carry with the Duffel Pack 2. The sleek silhouette looks suitably understated in a range of work settings, while the durable build will hold up to the daily grind year after year. Two compartments keep your gym gear and work supplies separate, and there’s even a ventilated shoe pocket. And with a choice of further pockets on hand you’ll find convenient storage for your bits and pieces on the go.

Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus (US$179)

Bellroy Classic Backpack Plus

Timeless aesthetics with modern functionality

Bellroy’s Classic Backpack Plus delivers handsome, clean styling with a practical design to handle diverse everyday needs. The water-resistant Venture-weave exterior provides protection from the elements and looks good in the office. Considered organization including a dedicated laptop compartment with weatherproof zipper, quick-access pockets and further interior pockets prevents a jumbled mess. And the comfortable suspension will see you right through the work day, weekend travel or trips to the gym.

DSPTCH Daypack (US$180)

DSPTCH Daypack

Durable, low-key carry for day-to-day essentials

As the name suggests, the Daypack is designed for daily use and offers understated styling that can move between informal work environments and weekend needs with ease. The Daypack features designated storage for a laptop and tablet, organization for keeping smaller items neat and tidy, and a wide opening on the main compartment for easy access to your gear.

RYU Quick Pack LUX (US$ 185)

RYU Quick Pack LUX 18L

City-sleek style with gym skills

Want a bag you can take to the office, the gym and about town without skipping a beat? The RYU Quick Pack LUX moves easily between all these environments thanks to its sleek aesthetics and great access. A drop-front opening and a range of pockets let you easily pack and retrieve items without having to rummage. And with its molded internal shell and weather-resistant build you get peace of mind that your gear is safe on the go.

Kletterwerks Drei Zip (US$199)

Kletterwerks Drei Zip

Excellent access with heritage influences

The Drei Zip takes inspiration from a classic Kletterwerks design but updates it with 3-zip entry that provides fast and convenient access to contents throughout the bag. Handcrafted in the USA, the pack features an interior laptop sleeve, a lid pocket for quick access to frequently used items, and solid construction that will stand the test of time.

Arc’teryx Arro 22 (US$199)

Arc'teryx Arro 22

Cult classic with great access

The Arro 22 mixes Arc’teryx’s technical expertise with fast access and a multifunctional design that works well on the trail or about town. The pack fits a 15″ laptop, accommodates a hydration bladder, and keeps quick-access items within easy reach thanks to its exterior side and front pockets.

Tom Bihn Synapse 25 (US$200)

Tom Bihn Synapse 25

EDC to one-bag travel

Tom Bihn have built up a loyal following, and with pieces such as the Synapse 25 it’s not hard to see why. Thoughtfully placed pockets keep smaller items within easy reach without disturbing the silhouette of the pack. The main compartment provides plenty of space for a laptop, outer layer, your lunch and work supplies. Alternatively store a packing cube inside and roam in one-bag travel freedom.

QWSTION Daypack (US$200)

QWSTION Daypack

Understated urban style with multiple carry options

QWSTION bring a refined blend of Swiss functionality and style to your EDC with their Daypack. The bag features stowable backpack straps and detachable side and top handles that allow for briefcase-style and tote carry options. The Daypack opens wide for unhindered access and fits up to a 15″ laptop.

Trakke Assynt 17 (~US$200)

Trakke Assynt 17

Classic looks with outdoor ruggedness

The Trakke finds the sweet spot between outdoor durability and office-friendly aesthetics. Inspired by vintage mountaineering gear, the Assynt 17 is built by hand to be tough enough for outdoor adventures. The clean styling however lends itself to urban and work environments, allowing for added versatility. Inside is a laptop sleeve for your tech and a zip pocket for valuables, with an exterior lid pocket to store quick-access items.

Mission Workshop Sanction (US$205)

Mission Workshop Sanction

Tough cycle-friendly design with office-friendly style

The weatherproof Sanction adapts to life on two wheels or two feet. Built in the USA and guaranteed for life, this durable 20L pack fits a 15″ laptop, provides a choice of pockets for smaller items, and brings sleek style to the commute and your weekend downtime alike.

EVERGOODS CPL24 (US$209)

EVERGOODS CPL24

Sleek urban aesthetics with outdoor functionality

EVERGOODS delivers a honed mix of functionality, durability, comfort and access with their CPL24 Backpack. Built for active use, the pack’s low-key aesthetics look at home in urban environments while its rugged, ergonomic and weather-resistant build tackles the outdoors like a pro. The side and top carry handles provide flexible portability, while the clamshell opening, dedicated tech storage and quick-access front pocket ensure your everyday essentials are within easy reach when you need them.

Bellroy Shift Backpack (US$220)

Bellroy Shift Backpack

Effortlessly shifting from work to play

A sleek pack designed to shift between changing needs and settings, the Bellroy Shift Backpack looks suave in the office and is built to perform in active use. Made with durable and water-resistant Venture-weave material, the pack features an adjustable volume and handy slide hook closure for one-handed access. Integrated lumbar support and considered pocketing keeps you comfortable and your essentials at the ready, whether it’s time to work or play.

Crafted Goods Eiger 25L (US$225)

Crafted Goods Eiger 25L

Pared-back street style that rolls to outdoor duty too

The Eiger 25L pack fuses durability, urban style and versatility into a design that’s at home on busy city streets but can also roam outdoors if the need arises. The side zippered pocket provides access to a laptop compartment as well as the rest of the interior. The water-resistant pack also provides a mix of pockets to keep work and EDC items tidy.

Black Ember Citadel Minimal Backpack (US$225)

Black Ember Citadel Minimal

Minimalism meets tough everyday functionality

Black Ember’s Citadel Minimal Backpack offers a head-turning combination of clean styling, practical design and trusty durability to get you through whatever the day or night brings. Made with highly weatherproof 900D 3-Layer Micro-Hex material, the pack fuses streamlined stealth and a rugged build to handle work and travel needs equally well. The clamshell opening and useful range of pockets prevent the need for time-wasting rummaging, and the comfy harness will help you carry on even when the load gets heavy.

Côte&Ciel Isar Twin Touch (US$229)

Cote&Ciel Isar Twin Touch

Fashion meets function

Why sacrifice fashion or function when you can have both? The Isar Twin Touch exudes French chic with its eye-catching draping form, but there’s practicality in addition to aesthetic appeal. Available in a choice of sizes and material options, the backpack provides storage for documents and a laptop, with a front compartment that’s ideal for keeping spare clothes away from your work gear.

The North Face Access Pack (US$238.22)

The North Face Access Pack

Fast access for professionals on the go

The clue’s in the name – the Access Pack puts the focus on fast access with nifty features such as one-touch access to the main compartment, interior pockets with ejector tabs, and an exterior laptop pocket with a pull handle for easy access to your tech. The molded EVA foam body also helps protect the contents when you’re on the move.

DSPTCH Ruckpack (US$240)

DSPTCH Ruckpack

Military inspiration meets modern-day practicality

The DSPTCH Ruckpack takes inspiration from traditional military rucksack design, but offers an urban-ready backpack that can handle a variety of day-to-day needs. A choice of top and panel-loading access provides flexibility to easily pack and retrieve items, along with separate storage for a laptop and quick-access pockets for daily essentials. The pack also offers water-resistant and abrasion-resistant construction, backed by a lifetime guarantee for added peace of mind.

Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Litespeed (US$245)

Triple Aught Design FAST Pack Litespeed

Military inspiration for changing missions

The FAST Pack Litespeed is designed to adapt to a host of carry needs. Multiple pockets, anchor points and PALS webbing provide organization for your gear and the option to carry bulky items externally. The comfortable suspension helps you move easily from one setting to the next, and the durable materials and tough construction ensures this pack can take a beating and keep on going strong.

Peak Design Everyday Backpack (from US$259.95)

Peak Design Everyday Backpack

A versatile, feature-rich pack for EDC and camera gear

The Peak Design Everyday Backpack is a bag that stands out for the obvious thought and care that went into its design. Available in 20L and 30L sizes, the pack includes a range of features to make carrying gear easier, from expandability and great access, to single-handed closing and opening and a host of organization options. This multifunctional bag puts versatility front and center, adapting to work, day-to-day, and camera carry needs.

Bedouin Foundry Delireis (US$265.21)

Bedouin Foundry Delireis

Handcrafted quality with casual-chic style

The Bedouin Delireis exudes quality with its premium materials and meticulous handcrafted construction. Simple, elegant and adaptable, the Delireis features an exterior double sleeve pocket, an interior laptop sleeve, and a rolltop design that caters to a range of loads and uses, from daily use to travel carry.

KILLSPENCER Special Ops Backpack 3.0 (US$275)

KILLSPENCER Special Ops Backpack 3

A touch of luxury with clean, urban appeal

If you’re after refined carry style, the Special Ops Backpack 3.0 is definitely one to have on your radar. Clean, elegant and versatile, this backpack looks suave on your commute and looks equally classy as a daypack for your travels or about-town needs. Crafted by hand in Los Angeles, the pack is available in luxurious full-grain leather, or alternatively save on weight and cost with durable and sleek water-repellent canvas. An exterior pocket keeps quick-access items within easy reach, while interior pockets provide storage for a laptop, documents and smaller EDC and work tools.

Bellroy Duo Totepack (US$ 289)

Bellroy Duo Totepack

Dual carry for diverse day-to-day needs

Your carry needs change from day to day, so the Duo Totepack is designed to adapt accordingly. Two carry options including tote and backpack modes let you easily adjust to a range of settings, from work to laidback sightseeing. Plus with plenty of pockets and the ability to expand the bag, you can fit in as much (or as little) as you need to while keeping your gear tidy and accessible on the go.

GORUCK GR1 (US$294.98)

GORUCK GR1

Military toughness in a multifunctional design

The GORUCK GR1 has a well-deserved reputation as one of the toughest bags on the planet. But there are plenty of other features in addition to its hard-wearing 1000D Cordura construction. The bag lays flat for easy packing and access, with a choice of exterior and interior pockets and webbing to organize your gear. There’s also a suspended laptop compartment for your tech, and a hydration tube exit port. This is a versatile and durable companion for work, travel and outdoor needs.

Trakke Bannoch Backpack (~US$340)

Trakke Bannoch Backpack

Handcrafted heritage styling meets urban/outdoor versatility

The Trakke Bannoch Backpack is a solid and stylish all-rounder that moves smoothly from work to play, and urban settings to more rugged outdoor terrain. The bag is made by hand with a weather-resistant and durable Salt & Pepper canvas, and offers a considered combination of quick-access and interior pockets to keep your gear tidy, whether you’re carrying tech and tools to the office or hauling trail essentials during a day hike.

*This article was updated on 20th July 2018.

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